The story of Newsweek is unlike any other magazine story. Born in 1933 and killed in print in 2012 under the watchful eye and leadership of one of the most celebrated editors of our time, Newsweek was bought by IBT Media and relaunched in print in 2014. And like the phoenix, it rose from the ashes and its dismal fate to become better than ever.
With a different publishing and business model, Newsweek now sets the standard of what a weekly should be. It looks and reads like a monthly, but is published on a weekly basis. I asked Jim Impoco, Newsweek's editor in chief, who oversaw the relaunch of the weekly a year ago, about the reasons behind the success of Newsweek today, a year after its relaunch. His answers are sweet and short, but adds a lot to the story of Newsweek, the little magazine engine that could:
Samir Husni: Now that Newsweek is celebrating its first year after its return to print, what did Jim Impoco do that Tina Brown did not do?
Jim Impoco: The main difference is that we got to try a different business model with a more targeted, limited distribution. That option was not available before. We've discovered that Newsweek is a pretty hard brand to kill off and expect that to remain so.
Samir Husni: What was the major stumbling block you've faced during the relaunch and how were you able to overcome it...
Jim Impoco: We relaunched with the Bitcoin cover and it created a fair amount of controversy on social media platforms. Our view on that story has never changed and we were happy to have opened up the conversation.
Samir Husni: What was the most pleasant moment during this one year journey?
Jim Impoco: Expenditures coming into alignment with spending - ie, we became profitable and self sustaining. And we've produced hard-hitting long-form journalism that has moved the dial.
Samir Husni: If we are to look into the future, where do you see Newsweek a year from now?
Jim Impoco: With the caveat that our crystal ball is still in Beta, we expect to grow the whole operation as well as our audience, and remain in the thick of the news business.
Samir Husni: What do you consider the most important three issues you've published this past year.
Jim Impoco: ISIS Inc., Somaly Mam, Bitcoin
Samir Husni: Do you feel you set the bar high for what a newsweekly should be in print in this digital age?
Jim Impoco: Who has time to set bars? We're just happy to be in the gym.
Samir Husni: What keeps Jim Impoco up at night?Jim Impoco: Caffeine. Questions about what keeps Jim Impoco up at night.
Samir Husni: Thank you.